By RICH REZLER
Washtenaw Community College was named a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing, one of just 16 nursing programs nationwide to earn the honor this year from across the academic spectrum of higher education in nursing and leading teaching hospitals and clinical sites.
WCC is the first institution in the state of Michigan to be named an NLN Center of Excellence and just the eighth two-year college to earn the distinction out of the 66 institutions honored since the program began in 2004.
President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca, Vice President of Instruction Dr. Kimberly Hurns, Dean of Health Sciences Dr. Valerie Greaves and Nursing program faculty made up the WCC contingent that accepted the award on September 14, during a ceremony at the annual National League for Nursing Education Summit in Chicago.
“To be the first in the state of Michigan and one of only a handful of two-year colleges in the nation to receive this honor is something that WCC should be exceptionally proud of, and we’re all so thankful to the Nursing faculty, staff and administration that has built such a tremendous program,” said Bellanca.
“While the college can — and absolutely should — celebrate this prestigious validation of the exceptional training we’re providing, the group that is most positively affected is our students,” Bellanca added.
“When they graduate, they’re going to have that Center of Excellence in Nursing icon associated with their diploma, and that’s significant. Prospective employers can be assured that they were educated in one of the top-tier programs in the country.”
Since 2004, the NLN has selected Centers of Excellence in Nursing Education based on the institutions’ ability to demonstrate sustained excellence in faculty development, nursing education research, or student learning and professional development.
“Centers of Excellence help raise the bar for all nursing programs by role modeling visionary leadership and environments of inclusive excellence that nurture the next generation of a strong and diverse nursing workforce to advance the health of the nation and the global comm-unity,” said NLN CEO Beverly Malone.
The WCC nursing program has reached a level of excellence that allows it to thrive while being located between neighboring University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University, four-year institutions that offer their own nursing programs.
Feedback indicated that the Centers of Excellence selection committee was particularly impressed with the Collaborative Nursing Program that WCC formed with EMU, the first of its kind in Michigan.
To address the growing demand for bachelor’s degree-prepared nurses, the two institutions created a program that allows students to complete five semesters at WCC and seamlessly transfer to EMU to complete a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN).
“We’ve found our niche among these outstanding institutions, to provide excellent collaborative student learning opportunities with a focus on professional development while being astute to economic challenges,” said Greaves.
“The cost of attending WCC is significantly lower than a four-year university, so we offer a quality education with an amazing rate of return for students’ economic investment in their future.”
To learn more about WCC’s Nursing program, visit nursing.wccnet.edu.